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Are the Saints in Trouble?

Drew Brees, Saints, NFC South

The New Orleans Saints fell to the Green Bay Packers 37-30 at home to fall to 1-2. It came on a late game turnover, after the Packers turned over the ball on downs, and in Green Bay territory, Taysom Hill coughed it up. That would lead the Packers to score ten more and take a 37-27 lead with two minutes left to play. Does this game mean anything for the future of the Saints or is this just a fluke for a Super Bowl contender?

Oct 28, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive back Vonn Bell (24) cheers teammates as they walk on the field before the game against Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Not Drew Brees

The Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is a one-time Super Bowl winner and Super Bowl MVP, isn’t playing at the same level he was last season. He has a lower completion percentage, thrown for less yards a game and his passer rating has decreased. But, the former offensive player of the year is still ranked in the Top Ten for passer rating, QBR, touchdowns, and completion percentage.

Also, he has been without his number one receiver, Michael Thomas, last year’s AP offensive player of the year, so the passing attack is former pro-bowler, Alvin Kamara, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’quan Smith, and Jared Cook. Nothing close to what it is with Thomas.

Drew Brees, Saints, NFC South
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints Need Defensive Help

New Orleans defense has allowed an average of 31.3 points a game this season, leaving them T-27 in the NFL. This is on playing total offenses of the Raiders, Bucs, and Packers that average out to about 389.5 yards per game, which would be 13th in the league. How bad is the Saints defense?

The Saints defense is simply nothing. Not great, not good, not bad. Just smack center in the league. Average. This could raise problems. The Saints offense is 19th in yards a game and 9th in points per game. Again average. Not one side is taking the lead. Last year their total offense and defense were top ten and they were third in points per game on offense. New Orleans was above average in points allowed per game on defense. Right now, the Saints are dull compared to last year.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 23: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints runs with the ball during the first half against the Pittsburg Steelers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 23, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Team

The Saints have five pro-bowlers throughout their defense and offense and all of them are playing except Michael Thomas. New Orleans has great players and the reason to why they are losing isn’t because they are a below average team with below average players. They are 1-2 because the firepower on offense lacks which leads to a defensive meltdown for New Orleans, who have had an offense that was complementary to the defense. It shows this team doesn’t have a defense that can control games.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees after his 540th career touchdown pass gave him the record. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Are They in Trouble?

The importance of Michael Thomas can’t be put into words. Having someone on your team that is the offensive player of the year can transform an offense that doesn’t have the same firepower. They won their only game with him in. The Saints aren’t overwhelming defenses anymore because of the lack of the firepower.

The Saints are going to improve because of schedule and Thomas. They rank 24th in strength of schedule which is close to one of the easiest. The team doesn’t benefit from no fans where games with them would give them the edge over opponents like the Vikings, Falcons, and Panthers. The Saints will turn it around with the addition of Michael Thomas and start to get back to normal form. The former champs will be a team to contend for another Super Bowl. Don’t panic.

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